Everything You Need to Know About KC's First Fridays
Updated April 13, 2021: Events are subject to change due to ongoing health and safety updates. We recommend confirming events with the Crossroads Community Association and individual attractions before attending.
First Fridays in the Crossroads Arts District have returned, with art galleries opening their doors and welcoming visitors to browse and explore. On the first Friday of each month, venture by KC Streetcar, car, bike or by foot to experience the avant-garde neighborhood that the arts built.
Here’s everything you need to know about First Fridays:
Art on Every Corner
From its epicenter at the intersection of Southwest Boulevard and Baltimore Avenue, the Crossroads extends south of Downtown Kansas City, framed by Crown Center to its south. KC Streetcar riders can jump off at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts stop to wander down on their own or step out at the Crossroads stop in the heart of it all.
First Fridays officially begins at 5 p.m. and many of the galleries stay open until at least 9 p.m.
Stroll through half a dozen participating art venues in the neighborhood, including:
- Belger Arts Center
- Belger Crane Yard Studios
- Buttonwood Art Space
- Jones Gallery
- Leedy-Voulkos Art Center
- Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art
Plus, do a bit of window browsing for a preview of other galleries that are currently open with limited hours or by appointment only, like Weinberger Fine Art, Blue Gallery, Studios Inc, the Bunker Center for the Arts and Cerbera Gallery, and make your plans to return.
Find more details on participating venues and current exhibitions from the Crossroads Community Association.
Once you're feeling sufficiently inspired, strike out in search of another art form and snag a photo in front of an iconic Kansas City mural. Several are located in the heart of the Crossroads and within easy walking distance during First Fridays.
Kansas City I'm So In Love: 2010 McGee St., Kansas City, MO 64108
#KCLoves: 1720 Main St., Kansas City, MO 64108
Art Alley: 512 E. 18th St., Kansas City, MO 64108
Shopping and Dining
Many local stores also join in the monthly celebration, offering items for KC shoppers of every taste. Indulge in a few sweet bites at Christopher Elbow Chocolates, pick up the perfect T-shirt for displaying your Midwest pride at Raygun or find something fashionable at Dear Society. Plus, keep an eye out for street vendors and local artists around the neighborhood.
A wide array of places to dine and enjoy cocktails include tapas at Extra Virgin, German small plates at Affäre or Mexican cuisine at Manny’s of Kansas City; but they can become packed with long waits thanks to their popularity, so plan accordingly.
Other local favorites include Blvd Tavern for gastropub grub and Lulu's Thai Noodle Shop for Southeast Asian specialties. Treat yourself at with First Friday deals and then hang out at Tannin Wine Bar + Kitchen for live tunes and an extensive wine list.
Recaffeinate at Messenger Coffee Co. before grabbing a slice at Grinders Pizza. And don’t forget the food trucks. Many round up at the corner of 18th and McGee while others line the streets en masse. If you’re thirsty, check out any of the fantastic craft breweries in the Crossroads, including Border Brewing Company, Torn Label and Double Shift, all within a 10-minute walk of one another.
Extensions of First Fridays
The First Fridays experience isn’t limited to just the Crossroads Arts District. Visitors and residents can experience the original sound and flavor of Kansas City in the 18th & Vine Historic Jazz District with live music, exhibits and more.
Parking Garages and More
Street parking can be limited during First Fridays but there is also space available at the TWA Building (1740 Main), in the Arts District Garage adjacent to the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts (1601 Broadway) or in private lots charging around $5. Patrons of Lidia’s Kansas City, Grünauer or Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue may park behind the Freight House.